, Salem, MA

August 31, 2013

Bizarre accident halts rush hour traffic in Salem

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police say there’s no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in a bizarre accident that brought traffic on Route 114 to a standstill during rush hour yesterday morning.

Officers responded to the intersection of Route 114 and Lynde Street about 8:15 a.m. and determined that a 1993 Toyota Celica driven by James Wright, 65, of Salem, had struck the side of a tractor-trailer operated by Spencer Russell, 47, of Ipswich, according to the incident log and an interview with Lt. Mary Butler. The truck was transporting an excavator at the time of the accident.

Russell told police that he’d been traveling west on Route 114 when he saw the Toyota heading straight toward him in the wrong lane.

“He also observed Wright driving with his head hanging out of the driver’s side window,” wrote police. “He stated while Wright was traveling towards him, Wright struck the median and the drove up on the opposite curb and then struck the rear of the trailer that had the excavator on it.”

Russell tried to swerve left to avoid a collision but was unsuccessful.

Wright sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported via ambulance to Salem Hospital, where a representative said he was in stable condition last night. Russell was uninjured.

“Wright’s vehicle was inventoried prior to being towed with negative results for alcohol or drugs,” wrote police. “It appeared that Wright was suffering from a medical condition.”

Butler said Wright having his head out the window was likely related to that condition, which police declined to identify.

No citations were issued, but an officer filed an immediate threat form regarding Wright with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Multiple officers were called to the scene to deal with traffic.

Officers had cleared from the area by 9:08 a.m.